With digital images, people are starting to ask the question – “is it authentic?”
My first digital camera was probably around 1997/8 – that’s nearly 20 years ago! It was a Canon and stored its tiny images on a CF Card. It was pretty heavy and bulky, but a huge step up from the first Kodak prototypes of the 1970’s.
Those had to store an image onto a cassette tape!
In 1990, a few years before my first adventures into digital imaging, Adobe released Photoshop for the Mac.
Take a look at the digital photography timeline to learn more:
This little trip down memory lane has revealed that for over 25 years, people have been able to easily capture and edit digital images. We have reached a point where high-quality images can be captured quickly, edited, and then shared within a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a screen. It’s no wonder then, that during this digital generation, people have also learned how easy it is to change that picture for unlawful reasons.
You are, most likely, from within the investigative community, so you can probably think of many different reasons why someone would want to, ‘tell a different story’. A digital image can be manipulated to reinforce that story, and up until now, many people have trusted that image as being a true and accurate representation. Continue reading
We provide complete hands-on training courses on the use of our products at our Amped Software Training Labs in Italy and in the USA. For some countries, we can also arrange for in-house training at your organization. The purpose of the Amped Software training is to:
- Provide students with the theory and the basics of image processing
- Understand different issues affecting images and videos in an investigative context
- Acquire an in-depth knowledge of all product features
- Work effectively on real cases and be able to testify on the results
Below is a list of some of the next scheduled classes. For more details and to register for any of these classes please click here.
January 24-26, 2017 / Henderson, NV, USA
Instructor: Jim Hoerricks
February 27-March 01, 2017 / Henderson, NV, USA
Instructor: Jim Hoerricks
March 02-03, 2017 / Henderson, NV, USA
Instructor: Jim Hoerricks
March 14-17, 2017 / Trieste, Italy
Instructor: Stefano Bianchi
March 27-29, 2017 / Garland (TX) Police Department, USA
Instructor: Jim Hoerricks Continue reading
When a driver wraps his car around a tree, the damage is likely rather obvious. Same again for a head-on collision at high speed. There’s not much car left to repair, so the insurance companies will likely pay out on the policy.
But in today’s app-driven world, minor dents and scratches are now being handled by the policy holder through the use of mobile device apps. Simply snap a picture or video of the damage and upload it to the insurance company. Claims are processed the same day and your money arrives quickly. Folks love this mobile claims processing functionality so much that insurance companies are featuring their time-saving apps in their advertising.
Whilst customers love this convenience, so do crooks. It turns out that fraudsters are using photo editing software to create fake photo evidence in support of bogus claims. This type of activity affects all policy holders as losses are spread out across all customers, keeping rates higher than they should be in a fraud-free world.
Enter Amped Software.
Without naming names (I don’t want to ruin the fraud-catchers’ fun), our software is being employed as both a risk management function (catching fraud), as well as to assist claims processors when folks turn in proprietary CCTV files in support of claims. Continue reading
At Amped Software we are continually researching new methods to help you in your analysis. Designing, testing and then implementing new features and filters is a continuous process. When complete, we get these out to you as soon as we can.
In this post, I will be introducing you to some of the latest developments in Amped Authenticate.
For those new to this blog, or the software, Amped Authenticate is a software package that enables you to conduct forensic image authentication and tamper detection on digital photos and documents. Today, digital images are key sources of evidence in criminal activities. But the creation and manipulation of those images is relatively easy to do, so it is vitally important that images being used as evidence are what they say they are. Amped Authenticate is the only software in the market that includes, in one single and easy to use package, all the scientific tools and functions necessary to discover tampering on an image or determine originality, and to verify if a picture has been generated by a specific device.
This update includes some very big improvements and additions.
Amped FIVE users will be aware of how powerful the Fourier domain is in identifying and then removing frequency noise in images. This frequency noise can also be used to identify signs of LCD Recapture. As a result, this filter is now included in Authenticate.
I assume most of the readers of this blog are video / photo / gadget / phone / camera geeks. I am sure you didn’t miss the reviews of the latest Apple iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel phones. They have a lot in common, but there is one major aspect that is interesting for our applications: things are slowly moving from photography to computational photography. We are no longer just capturing light coming from optics and applying some minor processing to the pixel values to make the picture more pleasant to the viewer.
Phones must be slim and light and yet we still expect to have near DLSR quality. So, now computational photography comes into play. The iPhone 7 Plus, for example, uses two different cameras to calculate a depth of field and then tries to simulate the “bokeh” effect via software you would normally get in bulky professional cameras, by using fast optics at a wide aperture.
On the other side, when you hit the button on the Pixel phone, it is capturing a bunch of pictures and then decides what to keep from every picture in order to give the user the final result.
This challenges the concepts of originality and authenticity. The light captured by the camera is no longer the output of the photography process, but just the first step of a more complex process based on a multitude of factors. There is little doubt that this is just the beginning of a trend which will explode in the next few years. Continue reading
Customers often ask us about the hardware requirements for our products before purchasing. While we have some recommendation, the reality is that many of our customers use Amped FIVE (or our other products) on unbelievably old computers. Sure, Amped FIVE would be slower, but for working on low-resolution CCTV videos, even a 10-year-old PC with Windows XP (not recommended!) still works mostly fine.
I recently taught one of our courses at a customer’s premises. Since the class was quite full and they didn’t have enough recent laptops to bring into the training room, about half of the students had pretty old laptops. During the training, we normally provide the software installer and training examples on USB drives. Some people claimed that their PC was not able to see the drive. We figured out that they were using Windows XP SP2, they were not connected to the Internet and had not updated in ages. Continue reading
We receive quite a few phone calls and e-mails from well-meaning customers wanting us to “crack” secure in-car or body worn camera video files. They get frustrated because our conversion tools in Amped FIVE or Amped DVRConv don’t “crack” files for them. The easiest explanation is that our tools aren’t designed to defeat security.
This is the first in a series of posts on use cases for our products done by Jim Hoerricks. In this post, we’ll see the issues on authenticating images from social media.
As a general rule, there are three basic ways of authenticating an image prior to trial. The first way involves the photographer attesting to the image’s authenticity. The second way requires someone depicted in the image to say that, “yes, that’s me and that’s the scene as I remember it.” The third way gets a bit more complicated. The third way brings in a third-party to authenticate the image. It is hoped that this third-party authenticator’s findings are grounded in science and solid methods. Sadly, this is not often the case.
The scientific authentication of images that are taken directly from a camera are complex enough. But when the image is uploaded to social media, the images are changed. This change shows up in many freeware programs – like the one depicted to the right – as a warning that the image is processed or edited. Many unskilled technicians use a report like this as a basis to declare an image not authentic. This can cause problems in court. Continue reading
In the recent post detailing the latest release of Amped Authenticate, 7644, we highlighted the new functionality included in the Correlation Plot.
When it comes to investigating a digital image, it is fundamental to understand as much as possible about its processing history. The more we know about the digital history of the image, the better we can design our way towards authentication. For example, we can properly choose which filters make sense to use and which not. Not only that, we may also find that some processing was carried that seriously undermine the integrity of the image, or gather evidence supporting authenticity of the image.
The Correlation Plot is a powerful tool in Amped Authenticate for detecting traces left by many different processing operations. It has been part of Authenticate for some time, but we recently worked hard to make its output easier to interpret and understand.
Before looking at the enhancements, what does the correlation plot do?
The Correlation Plot, with some new additions!
The quick just got quicker!
In the latest release of Amped Authenticate, 7644, one of the stand-out new features was the implementation of the Command Line Interface.
Utilizing the command line is a great way to automate tasks. I use it a lot to create batch files in order to complete some required and regular processes.
Amped Authenticate has a number of automation tools and methods to quickly analyze large amounts of files. These speed up the process of analyzing, sorting and listing evidential images. However, starting these processes requires user interaction. This means that you would have to open Authenticate and then run the required operations yourself.
Manually performing Batch operations within Authenticate